The UN Security Council is discussing sanctions which, for the first time, will target individuals involved in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, a South Korean official said yesterday.
The 15-member council imposed sanctions on the North on June 12 over its May 25 nuclear test, banning all weapons shipments except small arms and authorizing cargo inspections. The council has since been discussing a list of entities, goods and individuals to be subject to the sanctions.
“Unlike before, the list they are working on will include North Korean individuals this time,” a Seoul government official said on condition of anonymity. “You may say sanctions are toughening.”
Previous sanctions targeted companies whose overseas assets were frozen, but not individuals.
The official did not say how many people would be on the list or who they were, adding that the Security Council was still in talks.
Local media have said they would likely include Ju Kyu-chang, a National Defense Commission member supervising nuclear and missile development, and two nuclear scientists — So Sang-kuk of Kim Il-sung University and Li Yong-ha of Yongbyon Physics University.
“Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” the official said, in response to media reports that 15 people would face travel bans and a freeze on any overseas assets.
However, he said there was a “strong sentiment” that the list should be finalized no later than yesterday in New York, to meet an extended deadline of July 19.
Washington has been pushing for tough enforcement of the sanctions.
Since a long-range rocket launch in early April, the North has staged its second nuclear test, fired a variety of shorter-range missiles, renounced the truce in force on the Korean Peninsula and quit nuclear disarmament talks.
US and South Korean officials believe ailing leader Kim Jong-il, 67, is staging a show of strength to bolster his authority as he tries to put in place a succession plan for his youngest son Kim Jong-un.